“One of the best things you can do in business is to be well-prepared,” says Keeth Smith, and this will always be true. In the dropshipping sector of eCommerce, this motivational quote shows how important it is to plan your next steps and run your store efficiently. But dropshippers and other eCommerce store owners need to pay attention to a few things if they want to do this well.

What Role Do SKUs and UPCs Play in a Dropshipping Business
What Role Do SKUs and UPCs Play in a Dropshipping Business

This article is about two acronyms that many people have probably heard of but didn’t know what they stood for or what they meant. The words SKU and UPC are what we’re talking about. Most sellers know that these two names play a big part in tracking their products, but only a few of them really know why they are so important for their businesses.

In the sections that follow, we’ll “dissect” this topic in depth, giving you clear definitions, accurate examples, and simple explanations of why you need to use them in your dropshipping store.

What is a product’s SKU?

“SKU,” which stands for “stock keeping unit,” is a product code that both offline and online store owners use to keep track of the things they sell. These codes are very helpful because they let you keep track of your inventory and know exactly what goes out of your dropshipping store. So, you can keep an eye on how much you have in storage and avoid running out of things.

A typical SKU is made up of alphanumeric characters that can vary in length and are based on the size, style, color, and other characteristics of a product that help retailers tell one item from another. So, you have the freedom to make your own SKU codes based on how you want to organize your inventory.

So, let’s say you opened a boutique and are dropshipping with Dropship Corporation, a company that sells high-end clothes. This dropshipping supplier gives you SKUs for their products that are already made. You can use these SKUs again and again to better manage your storage. But you can also make your own codes instead of using the ones Dropship Corporation gives you if you think that will help you keep track of your items better. If you choose the second option, we’ll show you how to make unique SKU codes for your store’s products in the next section.

How do you make an SKU for a product?

Now that you know what SKU stands for and what it is used for, we’ll show you the easiest and most organized way to make these codes.

  • Characters. We’ve already talked about how SKUs are made up of both letters and numbers by putting together different pieces of product information like the ones above.
  • Formation. Still, keep in mind that there is no universal rule about how to come up with an SKU. Some vendors may choose to put more letters and fewer numbers together, while others may do the opposite. Most of the time, though, the first few characters indicate the brand or category. The rest is up to the retailer.
  • To show you what I mean, take a look at this pair of sneakers, which has a unique SKU that was made by using product data: OF1527235. The code is made up of the brand name of the item (‘Off-white’) and a few numbers that were put together based on other factors that help the store tell its products apart.

But if you have a lot of inventory, creating SKUs by hand can be very hard and take a long time. Use automatic SKU generators like TradeGecko and 3Dsellers to make your job easier. Also, if your store is built on Shopify, you can use the SKUGen app, which costs $9.95 for a one-time purchase, or the Easy Auto SKU Generator if your online business is built on WooCommerce.

What is a UPC number?

The “universal product code,” or UPC, is a set of 12 numbers that are assigned to each item in your dropshipping store. These are usually easy to spot because they look like barcodes with lines and are attached to every item you sell. UPCs are very useful at checkout because they tell you a lot about a product’s features and make it easy to find items that are selling, which helps keep track of how much is in storage.

Creation. The UPCs can’t be changed like the SKUs can. You must instead use the licensed UPC codes that your dropshipping supplier gives you. On the other hand, places like Amazon, eBay, and Facebook where you can dropship won’t let you sell your products, and you could even get in trouble.
Purchasing. In the US, manufacturers buy UPCs from the Global Standards Organization (GS1), which is an American company that manages and sells these codes. Keeping this in mind, the best thing to do to avoid hassles and legal problems is to use the UPCs your supplier gives you.

What’s different between SKU and UPC?

Even though both types of product codes are used at the same time, they are different in how they work and how they are put together. Based on what we said above, we’ve put together a list of the most common differences between SKUs and UPCs. We did this to give you a better understanding of the subject and give you simple, clear descriptions of the main parts of these codes.


  • SKUs can have anywhere from 6 to 12 characters or even more, and they can include both letters and numbers. UPCs, on the other hand, only use numbers and can’t have more than 12 digits.
  • SKUs are unique to each store because dropshippers and retailers can make them;
  • UPC codes are made by the GS1 organization in the US, so sellers should use the UPC codes that their suppliers give them. Often, different manufacturers use the same code for the same type of product.


  • SKU: easy inventory management and control that lets you stay on top of things when it comes to storage monitoring and avoid running out of stock;
  • UPC: makes it easy to find and track products quickly.

Why should your dropshipping store have SKU and UPC codes?

SKU and UPC codes help store owners a lot with running their businesses, both in-person and online, such as with dropshipping. Not only are these two types of code very helpful for keeping track of how many products are in stock and for organizing storage items in an orderly and thorough way, but they also help you with many other tasks, making sure that your store stays on the right track and hits the goals you set in your business plan.

SKUs and UPCs give your customers the best shopping convenience ever: they can quickly find the products they want in your online catalog by using the SKU or UPC codes you give them. As a result, you can expect your dropshipping store to get good feedback about your customer service and avoid having unhappy customers. Clients usually want an easy-to-use search system that lets them find what they need with just a few clicks. So, if you give your customers access to SKUs, their happiness will go through the roof.

Keeping track of stock

One of the most important tasks for eCommerce stores is keeping track of their stock. By keeping a close eye on any changes that happen to their storages, online businesses can:

keep a close eye on the amount of stock, figure out how fast it moves, and know right away if there could be a problem.
The SKU and UPC codes make this job a lot easier because they give you accurate inventory reports that can help you find a specific product in a matter of minutes and let you know if any items are running low.

Sales management

With SKUs and UPCs, you can easily and quickly keep track of your inventory. This will help you keep an eye on your dropshipping sales and keep them going. Since these product codes give you detailed information about your products, you would be able to keep track of which ones sell well and which ones don’t. So, this would give you much-needed information about how your products are doing on the market and give you the chance to take the right steps at the right time.

dropship corporation 52


Now that you know what UPC and SKU mean, you can’t ignore how important it is to use them for your dropshipping products. They will not only help you keep track of your sales and inventory levels, but they will also make it easy for your customers to find the products they want. The SKU and UPC codes make it easy to keep track of your inventory and make sure your customers have a good shopping experience.